After my study abroad, I felt a bit lost as to where to go with my studio work as most of the modules I had taken were theoretical and the two practical modules I had were project based. I decided to start mind-mapping ideas of a project I could do relating to cultures I’ve experienced growing up as enjoyed doing essays on this topic whilst I was in Australia.
Below is my first mindmap where I was looking into ideas I had about the different places I had lived in:
In a second mindmap below, I focused a bit more on my Senegalese background because both my parents are from there, it is where I found the strongest links despite never having lived there. I was also interested in the idea of cultural hybridity and felt that in a sense this resonated with Senegalese culture due to the French colonial history. Senegal now has a lot of aspects of French culture, particularly in terms of language, integrated into society.
In my research on this topic, I found that this was especially prevalent in Saint Louis, as it was the first colonial town in Senegal. Saint Louis also happens to be my mother’s home town and is somewhere I visit often as my grandparents live there, but I had never realized this about the town.
A documentary I watched with my mother (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG97eLusQDU) also revealed that the initial arrival of the boats of the French colonisers struggled to cross the mouth of the river into Saint Louis and had to be guided by the local fisherman. The fisherman culture in Saint Louis is a vital part of the local livelihood and is something my mother would tell me about from a young age, as stories about great grandparents feats fishing are an important part of my maternal family history.